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Should My Teen Sign Up for the SAT or ACT?

By G. Whitehead

Historically, the region a student is from plays a major role in whether students take the SAT or the ACT. Students who live in the mid-western U.S. normally take the ACT. Students who live on the east and west coasts usually write the SAT.

Having said that, it’s important to realize that many colleges accept scores from both the ACT and the SAT. Additionally, there is a trend for students from SAT-dominant areas to take the ACT (and vice versa). Meanwhile, some students choose to take both to avoid any potential concerns.

Choosing which test to take depends on a student’s strengths. The SAT is considered to be a “reasoning” test that measures a student’s critical reading, math, and writing skills.

Conversely, the ACT is an “assessment” test as it measures your student’s academic readiness for college with test sections on English, math, reading, and science.

There are also differences in the way the SAT and the ACT test math. While the new SAT includes more challenging math, it still only tests up to Algebra II. The ACT has always included trigonometry.

Additional differences exist in regards to the ways the SAT and the ACT are scored and how the scores get reported to colleges.

When deciding which test is best for your child, find out which test is required by the schools being applied to. You should also discuss the tests with a guidance counselor.

Whichever test your teen takes, the most important thing you can do is to make sure your child has everything needed to prepare for the tests. If your child needs help preparing for the SAT or ACT, remember that GradePower can help.